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Beachgoer discovers a military drone on South Florida beach

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OCEAN RIDGE, Fla. — You don’t see this every day. A passerby discovered a U.S. military target drone washed ashore Friday on the north end of the beach at Ocean Ridge Hammock, Ocean Ridge Police Chief Hal Hutchins said.

“The item is a drone from the U.S. Air Force,” Hutchins said.

Hutchins said police followed the protocol instructions written on the drone which explained what to do if it was found.

Police closed off the area while they waited for the Air Force to reclaim it.

“As long as it’s out here, we’ll be out here with it,” Hutchins said. “But, as you can see, it is safe for people to be around. We’ve assured everyone that it is safe. We’ve been assured by the sheriff’s office and the Air Force that there is no danger to anyone going near it.”

The 20-foot, 600 pound drone was eventually removed from the beach and towed to the Boynton Beach Inlet.

Air Force 1st Lt. Savanah Bray said the target drone was used for training with the 53rd Wing out of Tyndall Air Force Base near Panama City. Bray said the drones are typically retrieved from the water after trainees shoot them down, but this one happened to wash ashore.

“It is not quite as random as you might think,” Bray said in a telephone interview. “There is nothing dangerous … and we recover these on a regular basis and sometimes we are just unable to.”